Staying hydrated is a crucial part of staying healthy in the golden years. Each summer, thousands of people aged 50 and older are admitted to hospitals to be treated for acute conditions related to dehydration and heat and sun exposure. By following the hydration tips below from Lancaster Home Care Assistance, caregivers, family members, and friends can help protect elders from dehydration.
- Provide Plenty of Water
Water is the best beverage for keeping the body hydrated. Keeping a reusable bottle or spill-proof cup full and convenient will make seniors more likely to drink enough water. Older adults benefit from between eight and a dozen 8-ounce glasses daily.
- Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol
Some beverages, like coffee and beer, can contribute to dehydration. Caffeine can cause headaches and insomnia and prompts more frequent urination. Alcohol has an even stronger diuretic effect that can accelerate the onset of dehydration.
- Maintain Temperature Control
Opening windows on a warm day will generally not cool a room. Closing the windows and using air conditioning to manage temperature is the most reliable way to avoid moisture loss through sweating. Make sure you’ve looked over your loved one’s air conditioning unit to make sure it’s in working order before the hot summer months have set in.
- Recognize Signs of Dehydration
Dizziness, rapid breathing, confusion, and lack of urination are common dehydration symptoms. If dehydration sets in, it is important to hydrate at a moderate pace to avoid water intoxication. Severe dehydration, especially among elders, should be treated as a medical emergency.
- Increase Hydration if Certain Issues are Present
If an elder is experiencing diarrhea or vomiting, it may be necessary to increase hydration and replace lost fluids. If these symptoms persist or become more serious, consult a physician to ensure the best possible treatment plan is followed.
Although risk is greatest in the summer, dehydration can happen at any time — vigilance is key! Do you think a senior parent or loved one could use help with daily activities this summer? Call (717) 540-4663 and request a complimentary, no-obligation consultation for hourly or live-in home care in Lancaster from Home Care Assistance. We’re here to help 24/7.